Northern Highlands beats Ramapo in New Jersey's game of the year: Here were the key plays

·3 min read

Northern Highlands beat Ramapo in a back-and-forth game Friday night in Allendale to win the North 1, Group 4 sectional championship.

The game was pushed back by one week due to the sudden death of longtime Ramapo coach Drew Gibbs last week.

Northern Highlands (12-0) entered the game ranked No. 2 in the state, enjoying the best season in the program's 56-year history. Ramapo (10-2) enters the game ranked No. 13 in the state, looking to win a third straight sectional title.

Ramapo now leads the all-time series between these two teams, 22-16. The Highlanders had last won in 2006.

Fourth quarter

After giving up a touchdown, Northern Highlands returned the ensuing kickoff to the Ramapo 32-yard line. Kyle Major then caught a 15-yard touchdown pass from Enzo Arjona to put the Highlanders back on top with 29 seconds left. Northern Highlands 35, Ramapo 30

Ben Robinson caught a 23-yard touchdown pass from Jack Grusser to put Ramapo ahead with 1:14 left in the game. The extra point was no good. Ramapo 30, Northern Highlands 28

The Highlanders retook the lead on a 5-yard touchdown run by Charlie Sparago with 3:14 left in the game. Northern Highlands 28, Ramapo 24

A minute after turning the ball over, Northern Highlands got the ball back on a sack-fumble.

On the Highlanders' second possession of the quarter, they turned the ball over on downs at the Ramapo 45-yard line with 6:44 left in the game. A pass fell incomplete on fourth-and-2.

Ramapo recovered a Northern Highlands fumble with 11:22 left in the game, the first turnover for either team. The Raiders took over at the Highlanders' 40-yard line.

Third quarter

In a back-and-forth third quarter, Ramapo regained the lead on a 1-yard QB sneak by Jack Grusser. Ramapo 24, Northern Highlands 21

Northern Highlands took the lead on a Enzo Arjona to Charlie Sparago, who took the ball 54 yards for a touchdown. Northern Highlands 21, Ramapo 17

Jack Grusser put Ramapo on top with a 16-yard touchdown run up the middle. Ramapo 17, Northern Highlands 14

Second quarter

After an incomplete pass on third-and-goal from the 3-yard line, Ramapo's Nick Alfano kicked a 20-yard field goal with 4:57 left in the half. Northern Highlands 14, Ramapo 10

Northern Highlands started the scoring in the second quarter with a 79-yard pass from Enzo Arjona to Ian Langan. Northern Highlands 14, Ramapo 7

First quarter

The Highlanders scored on their first possession, a 16-play drive that ended with a 4-yard touchdown run by Nick Branca with 1:43 left in the quarter. Northern Highlands 7, Ramapo 7

Ramapo drove down a scored a touchdown on the first possession of the game. Jack Grusser found Robbie Travers on a 22-yard fade for the score. Ramapo 7, Northern Highlands 0

A key play on the Green Raiders' first drive was Ethan Moran rushing for a first down on 4th-and-1.

Ramapo won the toss and elected to receive.

Pregame

A moment of silence was held for Drew Gibbs before the game, and a 20-yard American flag was stretched out for the national anthem.

Extra stands were added behind the end zone to accommodate the number of fans expected for this game. Fans began lining up to get into the stadium almost two hours before game time.

About an hour before game time, snow was falling and wind was blowing at Mike Blake Field.

This article originally appeared on NorthJersey.com: Live updates: Ramapo, Northern Highlands meet for section title

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